Police & Fire

Penobscot County dispatch center staff test positive for COVID-19

By Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News Staff

The communications center that handles 911 calls and dispatches emergency services in Penobscot County is the site of a coronavirus outbreak, according to its director.

Two employees of the Penobscot Regional Communication Center in Bangor have tested positive for the coronavirus, and another two are presumed to have COVID-19, Director Christopher Lavoie said. 

The outbreak will not be detrimental to dispatch services, he said. The center has a staff of nearly 40, according to its website.

In addition to handling 911 calls from Penobscot County and dispatching emergency services, the center receives 911 calls from Aroostook County before transferring them to the appropriate law enforcement agency or other emergency service.

Contact tracing is underway and on-site testing will take place until 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to County Administrator Erika Honey. A second round of testing will take place in 10 days.

All employees and officials who have not been tested for COVID-19 in the past 90 days are required to get tested, Honey said.

The dispatch center outbreak comes less than a week after an outbreak was reported among female inmates at the Penobscot County Jail on the same campus.

As of Tuesday, that outbreak had been limited to the four cases among inmates, and no jail staff had been infected. It was unclear Wednesday morning whether the outbreaks were related.

The dispatch center, located on the third floor of the Historic Penobscot County Courthouse at 97 Hammond St., is closed to the public. Access to other county departments has been limited since the pandemic began.

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